Leading Peace Activist Threatened with Imminent Assassination
News from Colombia |
on: Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Carlos Lozano, a high profile member of Colombians for Peace has reported a serious threat against his life. Trusted sources have informed Mr Lozano that the Urabeno paramilitary group has put out a contract on his life. The contract for $200,000 US dollars is for a group of hired assassins, known as ‘sicarios’, to kill him in Bogota as soon as possible. Although used to death threats the latest threat comes after his bodyguard of 8 years was murdered last month, and after a series of threats to colleagues of Mr Lozano’s. As a result of recent mass mobilisations for peace, Colombian civil society members have faced a spate of threats and killings.
Although Mr Lozano has requested the State provide him with additional protection, the National Protection Unit has so far refused to take any action to improve Mr Lozano's security.
Several leading members of Colombians for Peace have been targeted for assassination recently including the group’s leader, Piedad Cordoba. She was targeted by a group of killers who were to fire an anti-tank missile at her, guided by a homing chip planted on her.
Mr Lozano is also a member of the Democratic Pole political party, and is a leading member of the Patriotic March, a social movement which aims to revitalise politics and place Colombia on the path to peace. After a large mobilisation at the end of April, several members of the Patriotic March have been killed, threatened or disappeared.
As a member of Colombians for Peace, the organisation that has been at the forefront of efforts to kick-start a peace process in Colombia, Mr Lozano was recently in the UK and the Republic of Ireland in order to learn from the peace process in Northern Ireland and in order to build support for a similar one in Colombia. Mr Lozano is a holder of the French Legion d’honneur and a former peace negotiator during Colombia’s 1998-2002 peace talks. He is also the editor of the Voz opposition newspaper.